Was curing my snipe really that easy?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I’ve been generally happy with my DeWalt DW735 Planer since I bought it several years ago.  It’s well designed, has good dust collection, and leaves a really smooth surface.  I’ve, however, been waging a constant battle against snipe.  If I took light passes it was manageable and I could clean it up with a plane but for heavier dimensioning, the snipe was pretty onerous.  I’d taken to leaving an extra six inches on every board so that I could trim off the almost three inches of snipe on either side resulting in quite a lot of wasted wood.

Motivated by the need to be a bit more creative with rough layout of my Bell Forest Adirondack Chair kit and one of the items on my shop TODO list from my Shop Tour , I purchased the Folding Infeed/Outfeed Tables for my planer. Sure I could have built something but at less that $50 and with only so much shop time they seemed worth a try.  After all, Amazon is pretty good about taking returns on items you’re not satisfied with.

Setup

The instructions were predictably laughable.  The single sheet of paper hermetically sealed in its very own plastic bag was little better than the assembly diagram.  Thankfully little more is needed to set up the tables than said assembly diagram.  Little more I say because the instructions completely omit any mention of adjusting the tables coplanar to the planer bed.  The adjustment method that worked well for me was to raise the planer to it’s maximum setting (careful of those knives underneath,) clamp a straight edge to the planer bed, and adjust the tables with the four screws that attach them to their “aprons.”  Working my way front to back a few times brought the tables into alignment.

Performance

Grabbing a scrap of poplar, I flattened one face on the jointer then took a light pass with the planer.  I tried to feel for snipe and couldn’t feel any.  I cranked down to a 1/16″ cut ran it through again.  Still couldn’t feel any snipe.  At this point I was pretty surprised.  I was expecting reduced snipe but not to completely eliminate it.  The machinist in me whipped out my dial indicator and took a measurement: less that 0.003″!!  I think I can live with that.

Conclusion

Pros:

  • virtually eliminated snipe
  • relatively inexpensive
  • easy to set up

Cons:

  • planer body blocks rear table from folding up
  • poor setup instructions

Recommendation:  If you own a DW735 planer, don’t think, just buy this accessory.  You’ll make up the cost in less wasted wood.  If you’re thinking of buying a DW735 (a good choice,) buy the package deal that includes the tables.  It’s less that $20 more and comes with and extra set of knives in addition to the tables!

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